Medicaid enrollment levels could pose budget risks

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This screen grab from the website HealthCare.gov shows the extended deadline for signing up for health care coverage for 2020. The Trump administration says people will get more time to sign up for “Obamacare” health insurance following a spate of computer glitches over the weekend. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says the new HealthCare.gov deadline is 3 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, Dec. 18. (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services via AP)

NEW YORK (NEWS10) – According to a new report by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, an increased record number of New Yorkers relied on Medicaid for health care coverage in 2021, with monthly enrollment exceeding seven million for the first time. DiNapoli says, however, if current enrollment trends continue, the state could face billions of dollars in unbudgeted costs. 

The share costs of New Yorkers without health care coverage have fallen from 11.4% in 2008 to 5.2% in 2019 per the report. As a result of the pandemic and resulting economic recession Medicaid enrollment has swelled in New York to record levels in 2021.

Medicaid is a federal, state, and local government-funded program that provides a wide range of medical services to economically disadvantaged populations, including low-income children and their families, low-income seniors, and low-income people with disabilities. The Division of the Budget (DOB) estimates the state shared costs of Medicaid will be $27.8 billion of the State Fiscal Year (SFY) 2021-22, which represents the second-largest category of state spending, exceeded only by education.

Enrollment trends accounted for two-thirds growth of adults rising by 356,677 to a monthly average of more than three million enrollees for the first three months of 2021. The mid-year update to the SFY 2021-22 Enacted Budget Financial Plan, expects monthly enrollment to remain above seven million at least through March 2022.

As the economy recovers, unemployment rates decrease, and temporarily enrolled individuals are expected to decline nearly 17% by March 2023 and return to pre-pandemic levels of just over six million by March 2024. DOB estimates total Medicaid spending will rise to $83.8 billion in SFY 2021-22, but remain relatively flat through March 2024, and increase to $85.8 billion in SFY 2024-25.

Check out the report here:

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